dear ladies,

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
― Chuck PalahniukFight Club

i don’t want to spend too much time on this post trying to make it artsy, well written or whatever. i just want to tell my story and hopefully save someone from having to go through any of this.

being a young lady with some traveling tendencies and aspirations for a successful future i wanted to make sure and be protected from growing one of those little human things unexpectedly so I got an IUD at age 19. for those of you unaware – an IUD is an intrauterine device AKA a baby blocker. i was in a 7 year relationship at the time and felt it was the best method of birth control since it was hormone free and long term. after that i had some issues with my skin and the doctor recommended i use hormonal birth control in addition to help balance my hormones. i figured why not? then i’ll just be doubled up on my baby blocking capabilities, saweet! plus I was desperate to try something to help chill out my moods and clear up my skin. win win.

so like many other ladies that listen to doctors orders, i tried some different methods and switched around from ortho tri-cyclen to ortho evra to the ring. some helped with my skin, others just seemed to make me more insane.

so anyway, after about three years i got the non hormonal iud removed since i found out it wasn’t even in right to begin with (planned parenthood 4 L1Fe) and stayed on some of the milder birth control pills.

when i was getting ready to take off on another potentially long adventure overseas i knew i needed a more long term method since hypothetically I would not have access to health care for an undetermined amount of time.

so being the responsible, realistic lady i am (better label than “satanic slut” i guess) i decided to try one more method that would hopefully give me some of those low dose hormones to balance my skin / mood along with the long term baby prevention benefits. insert: the Mirena! (literally) http://www.mirena-us.com/index.php <—– evil

I was at the doctors office two days before my flight (procrastination pro) explaining that I wanted something long term because I wouldn’t be able to refill prescriptions abroad ect. ect…

all the sweet nurse practitioners at the University of Washington said they were using this hormonal IUD form of birth control and loved it. after flip flopping back in forth in the office for a bit, I finally decided to try the Mirena.

With out giving too many horrifying details the insertion was the most excruciating thing I have ever experienced. It was triple times worse (is that even English?) than the first time I got the non-hormonal ParaGuard. They had some sort of trouble fitting it correctly into my heart shaped cervix (what a good song title) and after the absolutely traumatic, dizzying, nauseating, excruciating procedure that felt like being blinded with pain and punishment – they informed me that “it was probably in right, and might not even work.” WTF!!?!?

I am an incredibly tough female and felt like the temporary, although torturous/demonic insertion was somewhat worth it if it meant I would have the peace of mind of not having any unplanned munchkins anytime within the next 5 years. not that i was planning to come skank around europe but you know what they say – it is always better to be safe than pregnant.

so so so so, lets get to the good stuff.

the docs take another look just before i left (like day of) and said i should be good to go sleep around with as metrosexual europeans as i like – just kidding, jesus! (humor heals shitty situations right?) so then i get over to foreign land thinking i have one less thing to worry about until something started happening… my hair started falling out.

during my time back in the states, I was going through a lot of emotional distress and thought maybe it was just temporary/stress induced or that it was part of my recovery from my battle with an eating disorder (another lame story for a different rainy day) but then it just kept getting worse and I found all this exciting info:

MIRENA HAIR LOSS GOOGLE

now if you have ever known me in human format, you might know that i never really had all that much hair to begin with. which was already something I was pretty bummed about since my mom kept all the pamela anderson-esque-ness for herself. essentially, i didn’t really have a whole lot to lose. i became incredibly scared when “the shedding” continued. I did research and some people (my doctor from UW included) said it was probably just from switching methods and would most likely stop at some point. I invested in some extensions and did my best not to think about it.

when i came back over to Europa I had the intention of finding some of the solid footing that i had lost when i made the rash decision to return to L.A. in 2012 to begin moving around like a crazy woman trying to find “home”. I was pretty much just running from my own inner demons blah, blah, blah so none of the moves ended up being very successful. go figure. when i finally took the big jump to give it a shot over here once more, the last thing i needed was the added stress of… hair loss!?!?

but it just kept falling out.

i could barely take a shower and get ready without having an almost emotional breakdown. i started avoiding the friends, activities and places that i had sold everything to come back over for in the first place. my self esteem, already incredibly fragile, pretty much shattered and I felt like all there was no fight left within me. the hardest part was being in a foreign country with no easy access to health care. finland is known for its great health care system (for finns) but when you go in as a foreigner on a travel visa they don’t really know what to do with you. “you have emergency? you lose hair? here is a butter fish sandwich.”

since i had just had the hardest year of my life and had given up a lot to come back – i wasn’t ready to let this seemingly “minor” issue scare me into flying home and destroy everything i was fighting for.

luckily during my struggles in the states, i had discovered that boxing and the gym were my “church” and best resource to keep from falling into depression / self-destructive behaviors (wine and music are other favorite / less constructive escapes). at one point i gave up, “what is the point of trying to be in expensive europa if I am so self conscious about looking like a hyena that I completely isolate myself anyway?”. I had a flight booked but went to a body combat class with an inspirational friend that was also going through panic attacks/struggles; a kick ass sword fight/game of thrones style song or two later and i went and canceled my flight. American Airlines has most definitely black listed me by now.

the daily battle continued. I tried to take my mind off of the piles of hair on the bathroom floor (sad but true) and tried to focus on continuing my self-development and search for meaning/purpose.

I found exactly what I was searching for in working with international children thanks to another amazing friend that let me shadow her (kids are the best beings ever and don’t give a crap about looks).

when I got offered the perfect job as a kindergarten assistant, I knew I needed to stay and overcome this hairy (hairless?) situation. i’ve turned to other methods of healing: nature walks, forest runs, self help tapes, positive affirmations, NLP, meditation, yoga of all kinds and they have all helped me to cope with this oddly symbolic loss. yes, walking around saying “I love myself and do everything I can to allow my hair to be healthy, rich and full!” may sound crazy but it is what held me together – that and incredible friends. ❤

i found a new ways to cope with stress and have completely changed my thought patterns. by beginning to look inside and change the things that I needed to in order to better handle challenges and work toward becoming a better me. A year and a half of letting negative thoughts and behaviors control my life and then THIS was just enough to piss me off to the point of positivity.

it amazing what happens when you look within yourself and what you can accomplish with a little (or more ideally – a lot of) self-love.

it has been a bit over two and a ½ months and I swear I have lost about ½ – 3/4 of my hair – which is absolutely tragic for any girl, especially one that had unbelievably low self-esteem to begin with. on the positive side I have gained well over 3/4 of my sanity, inner-peace, focus and self-love back! I have a clearer understanding what I have been doing to dim my own light, the importance of letting go of control and fear. hair loss, fear and control are inextricably linked which makes sense with how much chaos I have brought into my life through moving around, changing my mind, quitting jobs, self-hate and self-induced poverty.

since ive been healing the inner issues that could be connected to this ailment (there usually always are) I am going to stop waiting for it to “probably stop” and take the step to get this evil (“blessing in disguise” if we are trying to frame it positively) birth control / hair loss machine – out of my body – because one can only do so much meditation and yoga. sure, it is going to cost a lot as a foreigner / be incredibly scary to go to finn doctors / might not even be the actual source – but I am not willing to let anything else control the outcome my life anymore… except for my own goals and dreams of course.

the even scarier part is that right after getting it out, other girls have reported the hair loss getting worse before it gets better! honestly, I don’t even know if it could get any worse at this point – but I feel like I can handle it since (i will have to) and I have this new found inner strength, trees and lakes, unbelievable friends and happy little munchkins to work with.

oh! on top of all that I am about to pay the last of my travel savings to submit for a work permit that might not even get approved. in which case, I will be stranded in dark winter/jobless-land and most likely very cold since I won’t have any hair to keep myself warm.

but at some point we just have to let go, surrender to the rocking perfect universe, give it our all and hope for the best.

so instead of traveling / festival-ing around next month like i would normally / irresponsibly want to; i’m going with the less stressful/cheaper route of focusing on long term goals and keeping this spiritual development / healing going. i’m headed to a farm in the middle of nowhere to hang out with some positive people, kids, sheep, chickens, horses and mosquitos. i may even learn how to grow a carrot! 🙂 and hey, maybe i’ll even come back in with a cool new wig made out of hay!?

also, my apologies if this was too much information, seemingly narcissistic, dramatic or if it shattered some false views that all is perfect in la la land but it is incredibly important to me to be real, vulnerable, in my truth and understood to potentially save someone else from having to walk the same path.

with infinite amounts of love of strength,

carissa

p.s.

moral of the story:

please don’t get a mirena.

finding one’s pack.

we all have to sit down everyday and make our art.

we have to create.

we have to purge the junk that clogs up our mental arteries so that the system can work and things can flow once again. when we don’t throw up this mental garbage and use it in a beautiful, creative way it will begin to dampen our souls and weigh down our spirits.

like those weird 80’s velcro ankle weights but less stylish.

resistance to using this inner junk to make our art is just as strong as the need to create it. we tell ourselves no, no, no. i’ll just ignore that part that is scary or hurts. i will cover it with a towel of tv, food, booze or drug of choice until it dissipates. unfortunately this never happens and it just begins to rot through the floor and seep into other areas of our lives that would have previously been fine if someone would have just cleaned up the fucking mess in the first place!

so that is what this blog is about. cleaning up the mess by letting it out. i would rather throw it up in this format then in a format that is destructive to my mind, body and soul.

what a beautiful introduction, ay?

today’s post will follow no particular chronological organization. it will come out exactly as it is supposed to and isn’t subject to guidelines, order or expectations. hurrah for it!!! 🙂

Basically, I want to use passages from a story told by a lovely lady and tailor it to my own experiences of this past year. It is a story that hits home hard for myself and a lot of women out there that battle with finding a sense of self and ones rightful place.

“It is worse to stay where one does not belong at all than to wander about lost for a while looking for the kinship one requires. It is a never a mistake to search for what one requires. Never.”The Women Who Run With Wolves , Clarissa Pinkola Estès

If you have ever attempted to fit into a mold and failed – there is probably a moment of defeat. A loss of self-worth and a feeling of never being good enough. When in reality you are actually probably the luckiest creature alive, you have sheltered your soul. Although, exile from the group that you attempted and failed to fit into is likely – it will temper you, make you strong and eventually lead to a “profound magnitude and clarity of psyche.”

Enduring exile is far more rewarding than living in the lie of re-shaping yourself to fit in with people that don’t feed you what your spirit requires.

This is exactly the ugly duckling syndrome. Assume that instead “not being good enough”that you are actually a swan and that they are mice. Swans and mice hate each other for the most part. They think the other smells funny and they are not interested in spending time together, and if they did, they would be constantly harassing the other.

What if wherever you went you tried to walk like a mouse, but ended up waddling instead. What if wherever you went you had to pretend to be grey, furry and tiny? What if you had no snaky tail to carry in the air on tail carrying day? Wouldn’t you be the most miserable creature in the world?

Many, many women keep trying to bend and fold themselves into shapes that aren’t theirs because they simply do not know better. They do not know that they are not mice, they do not know that swans are just as, if not more, beautiful and that they are making themselves miserable for no good reason at all.

Once we let go of trying to be mice, of trying to minimize the size of our wings or the loudness of our call – we can begin to look for those that better mirror ourselves and are set free.

There is a time between giving up trying to be something we are not and finding those that align with our true nature. This is a very scary, very isolating and confusing time. It is a time for searching. And the searching continues until you find the trail, until you find your way back home.

Wolves never look more funny than when they have lost the scent and scramble to find it again: they hop in the air; they run in circles; they plow up the ground with their noses; they scratch the ground, then run ahead, then back, then stand stock-still. They look as if they have lost their wits. But what they are really doing is picking up all the clues they can find.

Though a women may look scattered when she has lost touch with the life she values most and is running about trying to recapture it, she is most often gathering information, taking a taste of this, grabbing a paw of that. At the very most one might briefly explain to her what she is doing. Then, let her be. As she processes all the information from the clues she’s gathered, she’ll begin moving in an intentional manner again.

Then the desire to fit in with the mice will diminish to nothing.

We all have a desire to find our own kind. There is not a woman in the world who does not know this feeling. But it is this feeling of exile that pushes us to search for our rightful place.

It is interesting to note that among wolves, no matter how sick, no matter how cornered, no matter how alone, afraid or weakened, the wolf will continue. She will lope about even with a broken leg. She will go near to others seeking the protection of the pack. She will put her all into taking breath after breath. She will drag herself, if necessary, just like the duckling, from place to place, till she find a good place, a healing place, a place for thriving.

The duckling is led to within an inch of his life. He has felt lonely, cold, frozen, harassed, chased, shot at and given up on, unnourished, at the edge of life and death and not knowing what will come next. And now comes the most important part of the story: spring approaches, new life quickens, a new turn, a new try is possible.

The most important thing is to hold on, hold out, for your creative life, for your solitude, for your time to be and do, for your very life; hold on, for the promise from the wild nature is this: after winter, spring always comes.

Hold out. Hold on. Do you work. You will find your own way.

At the end of the tale the swans recognize the duckling as one of theirs before the duckling does. This is rather typical of exiled women. After all that hard wandering, they manage to wander over the frontier of into home territory and don’t even realize that they are there.

One would think now that they are on their own psychic ground they would be deliriously happy. But, no. For a time they will be terribly distrustful. Do these people really regard me? Am I really safe here? Will I be chased away? Can I really sleep with both eyes closed now? Is it alright to act like… a swan? But after a while, the suspicions will fall away and the next stage of coming back into oneself begins: acceptance of one’s unique beauty; that is, the wild soul from which we are all made.

When we accept our own wild beauty, it is put into perspective, and we are no longer poignantly aware of it anymore. Does a wolf know how beautiful she is when she leaps? Is a bird awed by the sound she hears when it snaps open its wings? Learning from them, we just act in our own true way and do not draw back from or hide from our natural beauty.

Like the creatures, we just are and it is right.

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so close, so far.

up days. down days.

up day: job offer from an adorable kindergarten that would provide the creative, fulfilling stable work I have been seeking.

down day: realizing the residence permit requires 500 euros and that the processing time could take to long in order to be able to start work in time.

up day: realizing the marriage route would be quick enough to be legally allowed to work in time and having an amazing guy in my life that I would actually feel safe enough to do this with.

down day: the new exciting relationship becomes a bit paralyzed with fear and pressure from discussing actually having to do that, the threat of losing everything I am so close to achieving sets in and I get a potential job offer from one of my former self’s dream jobs.

i repeat affirmations. i get an idea of what i want.

then the universe throws curve balls to shake it up a bit and the disorientation/fear take over.

i’ve been in survival mode for so so long.

after I left L.A. in search of what was missing I didn’t have a very good financial plan.

I’m going to throw in some quotes from the amazing book “The Women Who Run With Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estès as they completely align with what I have been experiencing.

“It is worse to stay where one does not belong at all than to wander about lost for a while and looking for the psychic and soulful kinship one requires”
― Clarissa Pinkola EstésWomen Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

So that’s what I began to do. Wander.

 

I ended up in Portland, because it felt a bit like Finland. It was rainy, colder than L.A., green with nature and mass transit. Also the biking and vegan friendly community seemed like it would be the perfect fit for my hippie – leaning tendencies.

I had gotten there started setting up a little life. Moved into the cheapest place I could find, sharing a studio with some strange boy. It was right down town. Easy, cheap, cute. And going to give me the shot to find some work and start a new life in a place that on paper fit what I was looking for.

If there is one thing I do, it is sign up for more than I am ready for. I like to tell people (and especially myself) that I am tougher than I actually am. In reality, I do have a hell of a lot of stamina and mental agility but too often do I close people off and say, “I can do this. I don’t need your help.”

I left L.A. sad and small and scared. Then I moved into a new, sweeter city but I was still in that mode. No healing had taken place. And to make matters worse I did not have the financial security in place to assure a feeling of safety and security in that new location.

So things were tough and money was tight. I couldn’t really go out and “make friends” because a) my social skills had been damaged from half a year of avoiding humans b) I didn’t have money to spend.

so with that scenario, I felt incredibly alone and stuck. I didn’t get the insta-happiness fix I had been expecting and this just made matters worse. So it made sense that when my former life and ex from Finland came blazing through, I instantly regretted my decision to try to start somewhere new and allowed (more likely encouraged) him to help me pack up from the shared studio and ride with me south to San Francisco on their tour so I could sell everything and move back to Finland like I originally wanted. Even though it hadn’t worked with him before it was something familiar and Portland wasn’t filling in the hole Finland had left (even though I had only given it about a week).

This probably would have been an entirely different story if we would have stuck with that plan. However, because of the nature of partying with Finns we got just drunk enough in San Francisco (where I was supposed to stay and then meet him back in Helsinki) but ended up thinking it would be a good idea to leave my car with all my belongings, my bike chained in front of the venue and my drunk mom left to wander the streets to jump on the bus and head to the next city – Loss Angeles.

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It felt so good to be with the Finns, have fun and not be in the isolated state I had been in for so long that I acted without thinking. What happened next was waking up, extremely hung over, back in the hell I had fought so hard to leave. Not only that but we were parked in front of the freaking Rainbow aka The Saddest Place on Earth.

I snuck off to sneak in to Equinox gym nearby and revitalize. I’ve come to realize that gyms have become a very safe place for me. Like a church.

The realization of the irresponsibility of my behavior / that I have no money or way to get home sets in.

What the hell am I thinking? What am I doing back HERE again? Why didn’t he think about the consequences of this and stop me?

I went to the show, saw all the sleazy/fake people I had just left behind, and felt like my soul was being devoured so I decided to stop drinking and left to go

sit by myself on a random Hollywood hill. The lights over Los Angeles at night are endearing.

These people didn’t care about me. They cared about partying.

They didn’t care about my wellbeing, how I would get home or if I even had a home.

It made me sick. Being in Los Angeles again made me sicker. My soul was nauseous.

After ignoring my phone for as long as possible, I returned to the party and saw V. I was so angry at him for letting me do this to myself, for being incredibly selfish and for destroying my life – again. Even though all of it was exactly what I had wanted and designed without even knowing it. I screamed and cried for hours with nowhere to go. I convinced my mo

m to buy me a greyhound bus ticket from Santa Ana, borrowed a few bucks and broken phone charger and headed through the Latino concrete jungle to find my way back north to build a new life.

Once again.

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“Though fairy tales end after ten pages, our lives do not. We are multi-volume sets. In our lives, even though one episode amounts to a crash and burn, there is always another episode awaiting us and then another. There are always more opportunities to get it right, to fashion our lives in the ways we deserve to have them. Don’t waste your time hating a failure. Failure is a greater teacher than success.”
― Clarissa Pinkola EstésWomen Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

warriors vow.

I, Carissa Shaul, will no longer be bound by the slavery of my fear. I will never again give my power away to insecurities, doubts and resentments. I will stop letting my past define who I am and will stand for my highest integrity. I will stop being a people pleaser and will honor my inner truth. I will stop listening to the voice of my fearful, arrogant, know it all self and I will listen to the voice of my most courageous, confident self. I will break free from the strangulating grip of my self defeating behaviors. And will each moment powerfully choose to make choices that leave me feeling strong, powerful and ready to take on the world and move from fear to faith.

I take this vow now as a positive stance of my souls highest expression. And for every man, woman and child on this planet today. As I set myself free I am freeing everyone around me to be their most courageous, confident, authentic self.

And now as I close my eyes, I ask all the powers to be to support me in living this vow everyday.

So it is and so it shall be.

awakening.

awakening to your true self is the most amazing revelation one can have.

finally things start to make sense.

it’s as if you can think, hear, smell and act more clearly.

we’ve all heard people say that “we all have a purpose.” “follow your dreams.” “you have unlimited potential.” but until we start loving ourselves we will only believe that only makes sense for “other people”. not for us because we don’t have anything special to offer to the world.

thankfully the inner spirit is a persistent one.

it is as persistent and loud as our own self sabotage and the insidious nature of resistance.

as we put up walls of resistance to achieving our highest potential, the universe begins knocking on those walls in the form of physical ailments, depression, anxiety ect.

and until we stop numbing ourselves with drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, compulsive behaviors of resistance – we will continue to reap the affects of ignoring our true nature in the form of unhappiness and illness.

the moment we are quiet enough to listen, the moment we don’t let resistance keep us from our true nature and path – we can begin to break down it’s power.

I got incredibly sick and incredibly sad because I ran from my calling.

i was on the path, i was getting close and i turned my back and flipped it off.

It left an insatiable hunger within me resulting in compulsive eating habits which resulted in self hatred, neglect and destruction. i got incredibly sick, incredibly fast because i had turned my back on destiny. i flew back from my dreams, out of fear and denied what was inside of me so the universe punished me. greatly.

i tried everything to hide from what i had done. i lied to myself. i said i was better off. i tried moving and running. filling and emptying. the feelings of emptiness remained.

i had neglected, sabotaged and ignored my true nature with all i had. i tried on tons of different hats and outfits to find another identity that suited me better. however you can’t put a badge on a duck and convince people it is a police officer. the act never worked.

once i finally gave in and went in the natural direction of my spirit there was a lot of repair to be done. i had to go out buy my soul some flowers, give it a big hug and have a long talk about how much i really do love it.

as my soul is beginning to heal with overwhelming amounts of self love, nourishment and wellness – it is getting stronger and brighter than ever before. look out world  🙂

i know i have a purpose. i know i am whole. i know i am limitless.

i refuse to keep running from and numbing that reality.

that knowledge is all i need to start back on my path to being all that i was meant to be.

as i begin to honor and love myself, i sit quietly enough to listen to what it wants to say or do. i am beginning to be able distinguish between actual hunger and soul hunger. i can literally hear what my body wants and what my soul needs.

as i love myself, honor and surrender to myself – intuition will continue to guide me on my path to realizing my full potential of greatness.

“Intuition is seeing with the soul.”
― Dean Koontz

resistance is lethal. it will take you out – if you let it.

OR you can embrace your feelings of fear, emptiness and self loathing and LEARN something from them.

“The enemy is a very good teacher”

― The Dalai Lama

thank you for the lesson, universe.

i’m back on my path now, feeling more whole than ever & wouldn’t change a thing.

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guys.

seriously guys, be extremely careful.

sure do big things. follow your dreams. but not to the point that you force yourself into collapse.

i had my very first panic attack / melt down today.

ive been trying sooo hard not to let “reality win”.

trying to manifest an imaginary scenario, giving it every inch of sanity i had left.

when you try to force yourself to be strong, when you aren’t, you have to be careful to wind up on the ground in a ball not sure if you’ll ever be able to catch your breath again.

failure, learning whatever it is – it is brutal.

another thing is that inner peace and calmness should be the only goal in life.

if that requires stability, staleness and being boring for a bit then so be it.

without a safety net how can we feel brave enough to continue the climb up?

i need a hug, a movie, some pajamas and a good nights rest.

till tomorrow’s new day.

c

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